A missile attack on an oil facility in Saudi Arabia has left F1 drivers concerned ahead of the Grand Prix on March 27.
After an exciting opener, fans were extremely excited for the second consecutive Middle Eastern race.
On March 20 the season hit the ground running with an entertaining start. Bahrain hosted the first GP of the campaign and the race delivered with an unexpected result. Charles Leclerc qualified on pole and rode his momentum into a first-place finish, followed by his teammate, Carlos Sainz.
Meanwhile, Red Bull began the championship with a disastrous piece of luck. It appeared the team would start the season with a P2 and a P4. That was until both Max Verstappen, and Sergio Perez suffered retirements. The reigning world champion failed to get a positive start as his car broke down with only three laps left.
The Mexican agonisingly suffered the same fate during the last lap. This left the door wide open for Mercedes to bag the final place on the podium.
Although they’d been off the pace both in qualifying and in the race itself, they took advantage of their opening, with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton bagging third, followed by teammate George Russell.
The absorbing race left fans excited for more. But after a startling event, a dark cloud has been cast over the season’s second round.
The Saudi Arabia missile attack
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for attacking a Saudi oil facility less than 10 miles from the Jeddah race track. Their actions left the depot ablaze, which has resulted in concerns for the safety of the drivers and the fans.
However, the race will go ahead. This is despite several competitors voicing their concerns to F1 Chief Executive Stefano Domenicali in a four-hour meeting.
After all ten team bosses agreed to participate, the Saudi Motorsport Company confirmed the news.
As per The Guardian, they said: “We are aware of the attack on the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah earlier this afternoon and remain in contact with the Saudi security authorities, as well as F1 and the FIA, to ensure all necessary security and safety measures continue to be implemented, to guarantee the safety of all visitors to the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as well as the drivers, teams and stakeholders.
“The race weekend scheduled will continue as planned. The safety and security of all our guests continues to be our main priority, and we look forward to welcoming fans for a weekend of premium racing and entertainment.”
Although the drivers could visibly see mass amounts of black smoke from the track, Domenicali stressed that Saudi authorities guarantee the safety of every competitor.
He said: “We have received total assurances that, for the country, safety is first, no matter the situation. Safety has to be guaranteed.
“So we feel confident, and we have to trust the local authority in that respect. Therefore, of course, we will go ahead with the event.”
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